Friday, January 22, 2010

Hang on to your hats...

I'm on The Juice.

I have been dragging for months and feeling like death on toast.

(Like Death on Toast, a Play after Pirandello in One Act:

Marie: Waiter, I would like some toast please, with marmalade.
Waiter: I’m sorry madam, we’re all out of marmalade, we only have Death.
Marie: But I don’t care for Death on Toast.
Waiter: I’m sorry madam.
Marie: I really, really don’t like it.
Waiter: I am very sorry madam, it’s all we have.
Marie: (pouting) I hate Death on Toast.
Waiter: If I may be so bold madam, perhaps if you had not done something terribly wrong in a previous life, we would not be out of marmalade.
Marie: It is all my fault, isn’t it?
Waiter: I’m sorry madam, yes, it is.
Marie: Waiter, I would like some toast please, with Death.

The End )

My broken shoulder has been agony despite three surgeries to try to get rid of the pain. When I tell you I was ready to tell my ortho to just amputate, I am not kidding.

Last week Chris, my PT extraordinaire, had an epiphany and said "maybe your arm pain is referred pain from your neck?".

And I innocently said, well, the Transverse Myelitis caused a large lesion on my cervical spine.


Chris and I looked at each other. It was time for the steroids I hate so much and had put off for so long.

I called my neurologist and told his secretary I thought I could use a course of solumedrol. Dr.H is so awesome. He totally respects my assessments. No questions asked, it was ordered.

At any rate, the visiting nurse came Wednesday and started my IV. I did the first infusion. And within hours I started to feel unbelievably better. The sensation of having been pummeled all over began to fade. My legs and knees, which were so weak and painful that yesterday I was using a walker, grew stronger and steadier as the day progressed. But the best: my arm and shoulder pain, which has been unceasing for almost two solid years, through three surgeries, has gradually eased until I am absolutely comfortable tonight.

Everybody has different experiences with IV steroids. Sometimes the side effects are simply intolerable. They have the potential to do incredible cumulative damage to your body. I have found that they aren’t always effective. Last time it wasn't at all. So I am very careful about choosing it as an option. This is my fifth course in five years, but the last one was a year and a half ago. I figured that was a long enough break. I was desperate this time.

When I went to see Dr. Wonderful for a surgery follow up on Tuesday, I was trying so hard through the whole visit not to cry. My arm is completely healed from an orthopedic standpoint, he told me. There is no reason for the pain, bone wise. And in my head I am thinking “omg omg omg what am I going to do?!?!” Fortunately, he wasn’t throwing up his hands. He is wonderful. He carefully read the PT report about the neck lesion and thought the theory had a lot of credibility. “That’s where all the nerve bundles originate.” He referred me to a pain management specialist. He said “We’ll treat this as a team.” Dr. H.’s secretary is faxing over as much info about the spinal cord damage to the pain guy as she has. What more can I ask for?

While Dr. Wonderful was writing prescriptions, I had nothing to look at but either him or the floor. Of course, given that I have the maturity of a ten year old, through blinking away my tears, it certainly doesn’t hurt that he is cute as a button and dresses impeccably. I was mesmerized by his gorgeous socks and idly wondered if he threw them out after each wearing. Because nothing that pristine could come out of the washing machine. Were they silk? Did his wife wash them by hand? Good thing he wrote fast, who knows where else my mind could have wandered.

By the way, now that you know about his socks, I have permission to use his real name. For the past almost two years I received the most incredibly optimistic, compassionate and skilled care from Dr. Brian Torpey of Tinton Falls, NJ. His real name is Dr. Torpey, but he will always be Dr. Wonderful to me.

So after two days of Solumedrol I have slept a total of five hours. By tomorrow I will be a perpetual motion machine. I will not be able to stop talking, or writing, as you can see already by the length of this post. I am walking without a cane. Nothing hurts. Yesterday I got washed, dressed, made up and was out the door with a cup of tea to Physical Therapy in twenty minutes flat. On Tuesday it took me almost twenty minutes just to wash my hair in the shower.

Unfortunately, next week I could crash and burn. But for these few days I am giddy with the sensation of normalcy.



Stephanie said...

Glad to hear that you are experiencing some relief. I am intrigued about this doctor's socks...please tell me more!
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StorytellERdoc said...

I am so glad to hear that you are in a good place right now..both physically and mentally. May you receive extra rewards on your life journey for your tribulations. You are a tough spirit! well done

Mary said...


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Mary Miller,